Overflow crowd at salmon initiative hearing



It was a standing-room-only crowd in Anchorage.

After lackluster participation in the first three public hearings in Juneau, Nome, and Kotzebue, dozens of people were not able to testify at all at the Anchorage hearing on Ballot Measure 1, the salmon initiative that would drastically impact almost all development in Alaska.

The hearing lasted two hours,  and with two minutes for each testifier, the clock ran out before all had their say.

Attendees had to be seated in an adjacent room at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, and others stood at the doorway or in the hall.

Testimony ran heavily against the initiative. Some 41 were opposed and just 15 were in favor of it. Ninety-six more had signed up, but did not get to testify.

The first to testify in favor of Ballot Measure 1 from a Facebook Livestream event that was being held outside the building was a man from Bellingham, Wa:

Speaking for the initiative in person was Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, the wife of the newest Anchorage Assembly member, Austin Quinn-Davidson, who said that mining and development laws are ineffective in protecting salmon habitat and must be strengthened.

The opposition to the measure was led by Aaron Schutt, CEO of Doyon Ltd., a major Native-owned corporation.

Some supporters of the measure didn’t show up because the Alaska Center for the Environment had sent out a mailer that encouraged people to testify at the old Legislative Information Office address on 4th Avenue. The LIO moved last year to Benson Blvd. A corrected mailer was sent out, but likely too late for some people.

Hearings continue around the state:

Sept. 21, 10 am-noon: Sitka, Harrigan Centennial Hall

Sept. 24, 2-4 pm: Fairbanks Legislative Information Office

Sept. 25, 2-4 pm: Bethel Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center

Sept. 29, 2-4 pm: Dillingham, Bristol Bay Campus

Oct. 13, 1-3 pm: Statewide phone testimony only


  1. The state should hold these hearings at a time when regular wage earners can attend. I had to be at work and was not able to leave. I have attended many hearings after hours and the lite gov should take the schedule of the majority of voters into account when he sets the time.

  2. If they’re so damn worried about protecting the salmon, why don’t they advocate to outlaw all forms of fishing? Who kills more salmon that commercial, and sport fishing? Hypocrites!!!

  3. Larry – commercial fisheries harvest 98 percent of all fish harvested in Alaska. Subsistence harvests about 1 percent, and the remaining 1 percent is split between sport and personal use.

    About 1 percent of Alaskans have a commercial fishing limited entry permit.

    Almost all of the fish commercially harvested in Alaska is exported to global markets.

  4. I attended the hearing in Nome and would not describe the participation as “lackluster.” Both sides were well represented by articulate citizens. What’s the point in sitting through the tedium of 100 people all making the same speech? Unfortunately, nobody really knows what this initiative means. But if you look at who opposes it maybe it might be a good idea to vote for it.

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